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September 1962

An Exceptional Transference in Psychotherapy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(3):182-192. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720030028004

In psychoanalysis, it is customary to utilize as a therapeutic tool the unique psychic phenomenon which we call transference. By transference we mean the patient's tendency to displace emotions belonging to an unconscious mental representation of an infantile object onto a mental representation of an object in the (present day) external reality.7 This psychic phenomenon is normally a potential characteristic of mental functioning in the interpersonal relationship, and everyone (with the possible exception of some psychotics and very severe character disorders) has the potential for transference. If certain significant mental elements have been overtaken by repression, and then if there should be a reactivation of what has been repressed, there will also be a reactivation of the infantile objects behind the images of the present day objects. In the neurotic, this transference of infantile emotional attitudes to a present-day object may pertain to any

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